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The Young People’s Performing Arts Theater brings “The Nutcracker” to stage on Dec. 6-8 at the Centene Center in Farmington.

But, what many may not know about is the hours of work and detail going on behind the scenes of this production. This is the 22nd production of the ballet, based on the E.T.A. Huffman story, "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” set to the magical score of Peter Tchaikovsky.

The ballet tells the story of a young girl, Clara, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King. After the Prince defeats him, Clara is whisked away to a winter wonderland and then transported to the Land of the Sweets.

For the YPPAT production, Shelly Andrews heads up the wardrobe, overseeing hundreds of pieces of costuming for the 165 cast members of this year’s production.

There are new pieces featured this year, including those for the “Petite Performers” and even new clothing for the young men in the cast.

“We have a new Sugar Plum (Fairy) tutu and Sugar Plum crown,” she said. “It’s gorgeous. And, it’s really nice.”

Dancing in the role of Sugar Plum Fairy are Taylor Stamm and Kelsey Cheaney.

Andrews heads up a crew of volunteers who begin in the off-season to tidy the costume room before the start of rehearsals in August – when the work starts into full swing.

She said the behind the scenes is a show in and of itself, with the fast-changes and making sure everyone goes onstage with the needed items.

“And, we’re repairing (items) along the way that come undone,” Andrews said.

Artistic Director Kimberly Gavin Anderson stopped in the room before the start of rehearsals to take a peek at the Snow Queen leotards updated by Nikki Galczynski or “Miss G” – as she is affectionately called.

She’s been helping with the wardrobe since her daughter was little – noting this is her fourth or fifth Nutcracker.

Sarah Rottler was working in an area where her late mother, Chris, served as the wardrobe mistress for a number of years.

For her, she said "The Nutcracker" means camaraderie – participating as a dancer when she was a child and coming back as adult as well.

“Getting to visit and see the other side of it,” she said. “It’s a family.”

Marissa LaMartina and Gabriella Miller are two of the four dancers in the role of Snow Queen and were trying on the costumes with tutus to see the fit. The other dancers in the role are Maria Harris and Annie Varhalla.

Anderson said boning was added to the bodice of the Snow Queen costumes to aid with partnering and giving a more corset-feel to the costume.

“This is such a workroom,” Anderson said, noting everything that goes on in the wardrobe room is a vital part of the production.

The two dancers said they were able to partner with the dancer in the role of Snow King – and it was an exciting experience for the two.

“It was a bit of nerve-wracking experience the first time,” Miller said. “But, oh my gosh, we’re like a team now. He’s awesome.”

YPPAT was founded in 1981 by Anderson. She explained the organization’s mission is to provide young artists expanded and enriching performing opportunities in a full length, classical production by bringing classics to the area.

Anderson is artistic director for the show, assisted by her daughter Maggie Haupt.

Performances are Dec. 6-7 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $13-$15 and available the Farmington Civic Center.

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Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or


Farmington Press Managing Editor

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